On March 19, 2016, the MS Dhoni-led Indian cricket team locked horns with arch-rivals Pakistan in a blockbuster Super 10 clash in the T20 World Cup at Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
After suffering a shocking 47-run defeat against New Zealand in their opening game of the marquee ICC tournament, the hosts were under immense pressure and needed to win against arch-rivals Pakistan to keep their destiny in their own hands.
Interestingly, the high-profile India vs Pakistan encounter was earlier scheduled to be held at Dharamsala and moved to Kolkata only at the last moment after the visitors opposed playing in Himachal Pradesh owing to security concerns.
While this added more weightage to the game, it seemed the rain gods had other ideas as Eden Gardens was lashed by rain just two hours before the scheduled toss.
However, the rain gods showed some respite and the match was reduced to 18 overs each.
Ahead of the match, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan sang the Indian national anthem while singer Shafqat Amanat Ali sang the Pakistan anthem. Even Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar was in attendance.
After MS Dhoni won the toss and decided to field first considering the weather conditions, Pakistan batters struggled to get going on a slow Eden Gardens pitch and could only post 118/5 in 18 overs.
Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik top-scored for his team with a 16-ball 26 while opener Ahmad Shahzad and Umar Akmal contributed 25 and 22 to the total respectively.
Chasing a modest target of 119, India lost Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina within the first five overs.
However, India’s talisman Virat Kohli rose to the occasion and scored an unbeaten 55-run knock off 37 balls, featuring seven fours and a six, to help India secure a six-wicket win with 13 balls to spare. He along with Yuvraj Singh put on a 61-run partnership to steer India away from a spot of bother.
“It is a challenging wicket out there. Was disappointed last time I got out at 49. Today I got that situation again and today I had a good partnership with Yuvraj. I think 49 in Dhaka was better. But getting the team out of trouble gives me pleasure, “ Kohli said after he was adjudged the Player of the Match.
“I think the score on the board makes me a better chaser. Work and set the tempo based on the runs required and the ability to assess the conditions and the bowlers works,” the star batter added.
The victory ensured India maintained their unbeaten streak against Pakistan in ICC T20 World Cups, which now stands at 5-0.
India advanced to the knockouts but lost to eventual champions West Indies by seven wickets in a high-scoring semi-final at Wankhede. Kohli finished as India’s top run-scorer (273) at the 2016 T20 World Cup, while Ashish Nehra was the leading wicket-taker with five scalps.
Meanwhile, Pakistan were eliminated in the Super 10s after they finished fourth in the group table with just one win and three losses from four matches.
Featured photo : Jekesai Njikizana / AFP